Stay Still

I haven’t read Packing Light”, but certainly plan to. It’s right up my alley. Living minimally, travel and moving on” are all things I value greatly in my life. 

Consider the following tangent as inspired’ but not a comment on the author, or her blog (which I haven’t read either). The concept made me think about the larger movement I’ve seen spread on the internet and in tech circles a lot over the last few years. The battle cry that rung out across open-plan startups across the valley: Quit your job! Travel the world!”

This sort of lifestyle advice might well have been popularized by the Tim Ferris 4 hour workweek stuff, and has now grown into a viable way to live for a lot of (usually developers and startup guys). Sell all your possesions, move to Thailand, profit. They’re lifehacking their way to freedom, (even if they have a great deal of trouble enjoying themselves).

I understand the allure, and have totally been influenced by it myself. I quit my job, travelled, and now live in another country.

But, I have a lot of problems with it too. 

One of the biggest downsides to living like that, or that you don’t see mentioned when people are writing blog posts about how awesome their lives have become or taking instagram photos of an infinity pool that’s my office for today” is that you (I) struggle to connect with people.

I think generally speaking it’s hard to make real, deep friendships if you’re moving around all the time. Some people are definitely skilled at making short-term surface level connections and friends, but i’d say most are not. Real friendships take time, vulnerability and shared experiences — not a weekend spent drinking once every few years.

You might steadily exist online, despite your nomadic’ lifestyle, and your business might do great once you’ve outsourced everything to India, but you’re ignoring all the valuable, meaningful connections that can come from spending time in one place. Those relationships are the meaning in your life, and to turn your back on them in the name of hedonism is inflicting serious damage on yourself.

Don’t be scared, put down roots, stay still for a while. See what happens next.

edit: I plan to read this Packing Light, not the other one.

May 7, 2015